Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has suggested that homeowners should rent out spare bedrooms in a bid to help tackle a worsening student accommodation crisis.
Housing shortages and rising rents are squeezing students out of the rental market, particularly in Dublin.
Tens of thousands of students are preparing for a new year in college and Ms O’Sullivan said students and homeowners should look at renting rooms to help everyone find a suitable place to stay while studying.
She said there would be no tax implications for the homeowner if they didn’t earn more than €12,000.
“It’s an option that might work both for people living on their own in a three-bedroom house in Dublin and for students,” she said.
As college entry numbers continue to rise, an unpublished report predicts that, in the best-case scenario, 25,000 students will be competing in the private rental market each year for the next decade.
The report, set to be published next month by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), recommends tackling the student accommodation crisis without delay.
Ms O’Sullivan said it was positive that Ireland had an increase in the number of those who wanted to continue on to higher-level education but accepted that accommodation was an issue.
She said the Government did recognise that there were pressures “and we want to address those in the short term in so far as we can and in the interim”.
The minister indicated that there might be measures taken in the upcoming Budget that would assist with the provision of more student accommodation.
She did not say what those measures might be, but a tax-incentive scheme for the provision of student accommodation would be an obvious possibility.
“Clearly we are in the lead-up to a Budget and there might be measures taken. Obviously, accommodation in general is a huge issue for the Government but in particular the subset of student accommodation,” she said.
In the meantime, she advised students who know where they are going to look for accommodation to do so as quickly as possible. She said many colleges had on-campus accommodation for first years, but there were other options, such as renting a room in a private house.